Strong second half lifts Lakers to 75-54 victory over Benedict in Heritage Bank Holiday Classic
MORROW, GA – Trailing by four points at halftime, the 4th-ranked Clayton State women's basketball team outscored Benedict 42-17 in the second half for a 75-54 victory in the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
The Lakers opened the second half with a 24-5 run in the first 10 minutes to take control of the game. Forward Kayla Mobley opened the half with a basket to immediately cut the Tiger lead to a basket, scoring two of her season-high 18 points in the game.
Clayton State took a 41-40 lead with a 3-pointer by forward Jessica Covington with 16:01 remaining. Mobley then gave the Lakers their first double-digit lead five minutes later on an old-fashioned 3-point play off an assist from guard Drameka Griggs. The senior point guard Griggs capped the run with a lay-up to give the squad a 57-42 lead with 9:44 remaining.
"It took us a while to shake off the holiday rust tonight," said head coach Dennis Cox. "I thought we defended well in the second and was more like ourselves. It was a physical game, and I thought we stood up to the challenge in the second half."
The second half turned into a spirited and physical affair, as the officials whistled both teams for a total of 24 fouls and five technical fouls, including two double technicals midway through the half.
Clayton State kept rolling later in the second half and pushed its lead to 20 points on two free throws by Mobley with 7:32 remaining. The Lakers maintained their 20-point advantage for the rest of the contest and pushed their lead to 25 points 72-47 on a free throw by forward Auburn Randolph with 3:20 remaining in the game.
In the first half, Clayton State raced out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game only to have Benedict answer. BC guard Monique Weathers gave the squad its first lead 13-11 at the 13:15 mark. The Tigers led the rest of the half and by as many nine points in the period.
"Kayla (Mobley) played one of her best games as a Laker, which was key," said Cox. "And Drameka (Griggs) …. well she was Drameka Griggs and had another big night for us."
With the win, the Lakers improve to 8-0 on the season and will face Barton Sunday in the second day of the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic. Barton beat Lander in first game of the event on Saturday 55-51. Clayton State's game on Sunday will tipoff at 3:30 p.m. after the first game between Lander and Benedict at 1:30 p.m.
Along with her 18 points, Mobley finished with seven rebounds and four steals. Despite missing the final seven minutes of the game, Griggs finished with a game-high 20 points. Covington chipped in 10 points, while Shacamra Jackson pulled 10 rebounds for the Lakers.
For Benedict, who dropped to 3-8 on the year, Weathers scored 14 points, followed by guard London Richardson with 10 points. Forward Maya Nelson finished with 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers.
After shooting 42 percent (13-of-31) from the field in the first half, the Lakers held Benedict to only 19 percent (5-of-26) in the second. The Tigers finished the game, hitting 32 percent (18-of-57) from the floor.
Along with ramping up the defensive pressure in the second half, the Lakers also shot better after intermission, hitting 61 percent (14-of-23) from the field. The Lakers finished at 49 percent (26-of-53) shooting for the game.
Both teams had a hard time handling the ball, as Benedict finished with 32 turnovers compared to 25 for the Lakers.